The Los Angeles Police Department announced Tuesday it has ordered 3,000 Tasers linked with body cameras for its officers. When these Tasers are used, they automatically trigger the recording function of cameras worn on officers' uniforms, giving the LAPD video of incidents in the event that they later turn controversial, Reuters reported.
“This technology gives a much better picture of what happens in the field,” Taser International spokesman Steve Tuttle told Reuters. The Tasers are X26P smart weapons that, according to the company's website, also collect data on when a Taser is used, how long it was used, if the wires touched the target, how much electricity was discharged and how long it was discharged.
The police department's Taser order may be a response to the recent officer-involved killings, in Staten Island, N.Y., where Eric Garner died from a chokehold, and Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown died by shooting. Both were unarmed black men killed by white officers, and protests ensued when grand juries in both cases declined to indict.
Activists in Los Angeles continued to call for officer firings in a similar case. In August, two officers fatally shot Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old unarmed, mentally ill black man after what they say was a struggle in which he attempted to grab one of their guns. Witnesses disagreed, and discontent among demonstrators grew last week when Ford's autopsy was released.
Last month, the police department bought 800 Axon body cameras with the intent to purchase 6,200 more the next year because "out on the street, things aren't always clear-cut," according to a press release from Mayor Eric Garcetti's office. The body cameras are connected by Bluetooth to the X26P smart Tasers, which weigh less than a pound.
The Taser order is a move to "reduce the risk of injuries to both our officers and the members of our community while improving trust within our communities," Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement. The police department hopes to eventually issue body cameras and Tasers to every officer.